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Fresh Vegetable Timbale

Preparation time : 45 minutes,
Cooking time : 1 hour 10 minutes,
Oven : Preheat to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3),
Calories per serving: 255

ingredients

serves 4
8 oz (225 g) fresh asparagus
1 leek or 1/2 medium onion
3 oz (75 g) mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 spring onions
1 oz (25 g) fresh spinach
6 parsley sprigs
1 1/2 oz (40 g) butter
6 eggs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1 slice brown toast

method

1. Wash the asparagus, cut off the tough ends of the stalks and put them in a saucepan. Roughly chop the leek or onion, and the stalks of the mushrooms. Add these to the saucepan along with the bay leaf, thyme and salt. Cover with 3/4 pint (450 ml) of water, bring to the boil, simmer for 25 minutes and drain, reserving the vegetable stock.

2. While the stock is cooking, cut the tips off the asparagus and reserve. Chop the remaining stalks, the spring onions, the spinach, the parsley and the mushroom caps, and put all the ingredients into a frying pan with 1 oz (25 g) of the butter over a medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes, until the asparagus stalks are tender. Reserving the liquid, drain the vegetables and liquidise them. Add 1/3 pint (190 ml) of the stock to the puree, and salt to taste.

4. Beat the eggs thoroughly with a fork or a whisk, stir them into the puree and add the Parmesan, white pepper and ground nutmeg.

5. Crumble the toast into breadcrumbs, butter 4 small souffle dishes and coat with the breadcrumbs. Fill each just over half full with the vegetable mixture.

6. Place the dishes in a baking pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 40 minutes, or until set.

7. Whilst they are cooking, put the asparagus tips and the remaining vegetable stock in a pan, gently bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the tips are tender. Drain the tips and refresh them by running them quickly under a cold tap - this helps to keep them looking fresh and green.

8. When the timbales are cooked, slice the asparagus tips down the middle and use to garnish each souffle dish. Serve immediately.

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